A 33-year-old juror was excused from the Ghislaine Maxwell trial after his wife surprised him with last-minute Christmas vacation tickets. Judge Alison Nathan excused the juror, who lives in the Bronx and works for a “government entity”, after pondering the matter for a day. The Maxwell trial kicked off on Monday and is expected to last roughly six weeks, straight through the Christmas season.
Judge Nathan said Tuesday she’d made the decision after asking the juror to call his spouse and ask if the trip could be delayed, and found he “made an effort and can’t move” their vacation. The juror told the judge that cancelling the trip would be a financial burden for the couple, prompting Nathan to move ahead with the trial because she didn’t want it to be delayed over the juror’s vacation. The juror will be replaced with one of the six alternates.
Maxwell is facing multiple charges in connection with trafficking girls for abuse in service of her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein, as well as participating in sexual abuse herself. She faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charges.
“Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” reads the indictment.
The indictment alleges that Maxwell first engaged with the victims for Epstein by befriending them, such as taking them to movies and on shopping trips. After befriending them, Maxwell then began grooming the victims, by talking about sexual acts and undressing in front of them. Eventually, the victims would travel with Maxwell to Epstein’s residences in New York and Florida. In some cases, the victims would travel to Maxwell’s residence in London.
Maxwell was arrested by the FBI in July, 2020. She has been denied bail.